The Ratings Are Down for The Orville, But It Should Keep a Steady Course
FOX’s sci fi comedy The Orville wrapped up its first season last Thursday matching its season low of a 0.9 rating based on same day viewing for the 18-49 demographic and it was the second new episode in a row that was at that level. That series took the Fall season by storm when it airred two episodes on Sunday nights with a lead-in from NFL Football and it has performed well in its regular Thursday 9 PM EST timeslot despite stiff competition on that night. But the show slipped some in the last few weeks of its first season which raised the question of how well it will be positioned heading into its second season.
At this point, though, I don’t believe this one has too much to worry about. The broadcast networks in general experienced a Fall slump, and The Orville‘s Thursday night ratings are right in line with the network’s average for non-sports, non-special, and non-repeat programming. And the show has performed very well in delayed viewing which is a bit more significant for FOX because that includes Hulu which generates revenue (as opposed to DVR viewing where viewers typically skip through the commercials). I do believe that the network should do everything it can to position the show for success when it returns next Fall because it does count as a hit. And success can be fleeting on television, especially in the Peak TV crunch, so a better timeslot should be the first thing the network considers along with plenty of promotion. The Orville definitely registered with the sci fi community, possibly even more so than the new Star Trek series (as indicated by this poll), and if FOX sticks behind the show it could become a notable and long-lived genre franchise (and offer at least some atonement for killing Firefly those many years back).
Superstition Gets Bumped to Thursdays
Last week’s schedule showed that Syfy’s new supernatural series Superstition would air a new episode in its regular Friday 10 PM EST timeslot, but the network apparently bumped it in favor of running the first Men in Black movie. The show has now been moved out of Prime Time to Thursdays at 11 PM EST starting this week which is almost certainly a burn-off run. That is not a surprise considering the show has barely registered in the ratings in its first season and I moved it to Cancellation Likely status a few weeks ago. Co-created by Mario Van Peebles (he also stars), the show arrived on Syfy with little promotion and is part of a shift to horror / supernatural programming that has not registered well with the network’s viewers. Similarly themed Ghost Wars–also new to Syfy–has struggled in the ratings this Fall as well, as has returning shows Van Helsing and Channel Zero. Superstition does have an international streaming deal with Netflix, and its possible that could keep the show going as we have seen with BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. But the fact that Syfy has shifted the show to a later hour on the schedule suggests that the cabler has lost faith in it and I believe that it will likely become another Peak TV one-season-and-done casualty along with equally low-rated Ghost Wars.
Ratings Results of Interest: Agents of SHIELD Drops, The Walking Dead Doesn’t See Much Lift
On Friday, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD slipped to a 0.5 rating based on same day viewing in the demo with 1.9 million total viewers. Of course, that drop was pretty much expected and it is now at the same level as Once Upon A Time and also what we saw from The Inhumans for most of its limited run. ABC can’t like the fact that the under-performing dramas are dragging down the ratings for its news show 20/20 in the 10 PM EST hour, and I’m thinking they will seriously consider cleaning house on the night after the season wraps. But as I previously discussed, parent company Disney will likely have the final say on that.
On Sunday, AMC’s The Walking Dead only managed a 3.4 rating with 7.9 million total viewers for its Fall Finale. I will will have to go back and check the numbers, but I believe that is the lowest Fall wrap up for that show since its second season. Even though Season 8 has been well received by fans and has mostly avoided negative reactions from critics, it appears that The Walking Dexit has still not ended for this show. I will be looking at that in more detail in an upcoming post. Over on Starz, Outlander improved to a 0.30 rating with 1.4 million total viewers, but it could not provide much boost to the special preview of upcoming series Counterpart. That alternate universe entry managed only a 0.08 rating with 394K total viewers on Sunday. I’m not sure how well the preview airing was promoted, but the show will need to pull better ratings than that when it launches on January 21st if it wants to avoid becoming another Peak TV casualty.
I covered the early week ratings on Friday, including the happy beginning for Syfy’s Happy!, at this link and you can see the full ratings results for the week at this link. Be sure to follow the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for the latest ratings numbers as well as updates and breaking news.